NBA trade winds have started blowing for veteran forwards
The feeling shared by other executives is that Thad Young is staying with the Bulls, but the landscape can always change in the next week. On Wednesday, Young became the 145th player to play in 1,000 NBA games.
The shopping at the 32-and-over forward bin has started.
The Heat acquired Trevor Ariza from the Thunder, then the Bucks landed P.J. Tucker from the Rockets.
Could Bulls forward Thad Young be next?
After all, he fits that category of tough-minded veteran on the back nine of his career who would be the perfect addition for a contending team.
The snag is the Bulls consider Young a vital cog in their quest to reach the postseason and give the young core a first taste of postseason basketball.
The Thunder and Rockets are in different places as organizations. That doesn’t make Young even close to untouchable, but the outside perspective is that the Bulls seem like a team that is standing pat.
Young played in his 1,000th NBA game Wednesday, becoming the 145th player to hit that milestone.
“Great guy,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. “All about the team. Appreciate the investment he has made in a lot of the younger guys because that takes energy to do that. He has been very patient with those guys. I think he’s a great role model in a lot of ways.’’
Young was moved to the starting lineup this week, so his value on the court has increased even further. The Bulls have been looking for quicker starts, and Young was averaging 4.4 assists, leading the team in steals with 1.3 per game and had the second-highest player efficiency rating (21.38) behind Zach LaVine. That’s the type of versatility he has brought to that first unit.
“The thing that has always amazed me about his career is he’s always been a guy who has kind of played along the baseline,’’ Donovan said. “I was always amazed at how well he could pass inside into tight windows. The biggest thing with Thad is when he catches the ball, he’s always under control. And he is never rattled and he’s never in a hurry. And he knows where everybody is at. He takes his time, and he’s patient. That allows him to see things and make those kind of passes.’’
Patrick Williams hasn’t exactly opened eyes since the second half began last week, scoring in single digits in three of his first four games and shooting 12-for-33 (36%) from the field. He did have a career-high 23 points in the Bulls’ victory against the Raptors but hardly flashed in the win over the Thunder on Tuesday.
It’s just a reminder that he’s 19 and didn’t have a Summer League or minicamp to prepare him for his rookie campaign.
“The other thing, too, that people maybe don’t understand is he’s in a completely different role from what he did in college and high school,’’ Donovan said. “The things that we’re asking him to do, not that he’s incapable or not that he hasn’t done maybe a little of that, is he really didn’t play pick-and-roll in college. He came off the bench. The offensive game in the NBA as a whole is totally different. The level of players he is guarding is totally different.
‘‘With the shortened training camp and no summer and going from the draft right to practice, he’s really responded well.’’